Friday, October 31, 2014

FFWD ~ Osso Buco à Ľ arman

Dorie and I at Williams-Sonoma NYC
I just got back from an overnighter in NYC! We scheduled it about a month ago, so that we could take our son out for a birthday dinner! But as luck would have it, I got to see Dorie on the launch of her new book tour for "Baking Chez Moi". She was at Williams-Sonoma in Columbus Circle, a few blocks from our hotel. I got there early, because I didn’t want to stand in the back, or not get in at all…no problem! The store is one of the largest W-S’s I’ve ever seen. They had plenty of room for all of Dorie’s fans.

Dorie giving a wonderful demonstration on how to make Financiers
When I arrived, the staff at W-S seemed excited to have Dorie there, and quite welcoming!  I purchased my book on-line, but it hadn’t arrived yet.  I did bring my very well worn copy of AMFT, in the hopes Dorie would sign it for me.  I was early, so I walked to the back and saw her prepping.  Not wanting to disturb her, I smiled and waved. I then started chatting with a lovely young lady, who also came from New Jersey for the signing.  As we stood there talking, Dorie came over and talked with us for a moment. She signed a bookplate for my "Baking Chez Moi", and introduced me to her publicist, who was delightful, and fun to talk with.  Dorie was quite gracious, and posed for pictures with me. My hubby took three pictures (all out of focus)!  Oh well! I did get my AMFT signed, and a photo taken with Dorie, even if slightly blurry! When Dorie saw my book, she smiled and took a photo of it!  She said it made her happy to see such a well loved book, with so many book marks, and worn, stained pages.
Dorie did a wonderful demo on making Matcha Financiers (which we got to sample), as she talked about how she got started in the Cookbook business!  She told us she wasn’t a chef. I believe anyone who learned, and worked along side the great Julia Child, is more credentialed than most!  Education is education, whether in school or with a private tutor! The Financiers were delectable! We were also served some wonderful treats that Dorie and her staff made for the occasion.  Mixed Berry Cheesecake Coupes…they were amazing!  I hope you all get a chance to see Dorie on her book tour! It was really a fun night!

 Mixed Berry Cheesecake Coupes…a delicious treat sponsored by Driscoll Berries
Finishing  off the Financiers…

Now on to French Fridays! This week we made Osso Buco à Ľarman! Osso Buco literally translates into "bone with a hole".  Different from the Italian Osso Buco.  This version has a heavy orange flavor, due to boiling orange peel, then using the water as part of the sauce.
My local butcher was able to get me 4 beautiful veal shanks. They were not as expensive as in some areas of the country. Mine cost $13.49 a lb., and were worth every penny!  First, water and orange zest are boiled for a few minutes. While that mixture is simmering, start the shanks by browning them and sautéing onions, garlic, and herbs. Add canned tomatoes, along with fresh tomatoes and some of the water and orange peel that you have put aside. Four peeled, and sliced carrots are now added to the pot, and everything gets braised, undisturbed for several hours in the oven.  I served mine with a rice pilaf! This is one of the best dinners I’ve ever made from AMFT! Bill loved it, and I thought it was impressive and company worthy!  Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie’s cookbook, AMFT or here where it has been previously published. To see how the other Dorista’s did this week, check it out here.

Sauté the onions and garlic
Sear the Osso Buco
Finish the sauce by adding the tomatoes, orange water and carrots
Slid the meat into the sauce, cover with parchment paper, then the lid,  braise in oven for 2 hours undisturbed. 
This was a marvelous meal….company worthy!
Once the prep is done…this is pretty much a hands off meal…so enjoyable!
The meat was so tender, it just melted in your mouth! 
A winner in my house!
My copy of  Around My French Table…signed by Dorie

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cottage Cooking Club ~ Baby Beet Tarte Tatin and Pumpkin and Raisin Tea Loaf

Beautiful Baby Beet Tarte Tatin

Awhile back, I decided to join the Cottage Cooking Club, hosted by Andrea @ The Kitchen Lioness. She is one of my French Fridays friends. If you’ve never visited her lovely blog, you are in for a treat.
The goal of this group was to cook through River Cottage Veg, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The book is fabulous, and I was really looking forward to participating on a regular basis. However, life just seemed to get in the way!  The past few months have been quite busy for us.  A trip to Italy, a NYC trip with some blogger friends, and my grandkids for a week at Camp Grandma. Not to mention the showers, parties, and weddings that seemed to dominate our comings and goings for the last few months. In the midst of all of that busyness, my hubby and I were still able to take a week in NYC for our anniversary.  Something had to give! 
Well summer is over, and fall is in full swing. My life has started to slow down!  This is the perfect time to get myself involved again!  It was not hard to jump back in, because the choices for October were exceptional!
I chose two recipes for this month. The Baby Beet Tarte Tatin, and Pumpkin-Raisin Tea Loaf.  Both were wonderfully mouthwatering!  

Incredibly delicious!

I made the Baby Beet Tarte Tatin twice! When I tell you it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, I am not exaggerating!  I love beets anyway…but this was one heck of a way to serve them.  The first time I made this, I used frozen puff pastry, and pre-cooked beets. I always have them in my fridge for a quick lunch. The first bite was amazing! The beets caramelized while baking and were luscious. One bite had me craving another…and another!
The second time I made this wonderful tarte I used fresh beets! It was still delectable; it just took longer to cook!! This Tarte Tatin is going to be a regular in my kitchen! 

The caramelized beets were mouthwatering

The other recipe I chose to bake was Pumpkin and Raisin Tea Loaf. A wonderfully moist, slightly sweet loaf, packed with grated pumpkin, raisins and delicious flavors. The result of the warm winter spices in the batter. This recipe calls for raw grated pumpkin, my usual pumpkin bread calls for pumpkin puree. I wondered how this would affect the texture of the bread? Wonder no more…it was perfect! The recipe calls for Muscavado sugar. I didn’t have any in my pantry, so I substituted it with Coconut Palm sugar. A wonderful choice! Hugh gives you an option for grated beets instead of pumpkin! I definitely can see that in my future! The tea bread was perfect for a morning tea/coffee break. It also seemed quite healthy, full of pumpkin, and containing no butter or oil. A winner for sure!

Both of these recipes can be found in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book "River Cottage Veg" or on-line, where they have been previously published!  I have shared them with you here today. Enjoy! 

Pumpkin and Raisin Tea Loaf

Wonderfully moist and perfect with a cup of tea

Baby Beet Tarte Tatin


8 ounces frozen/defrosted homemade or store-bought puff pastry
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 to 14 ounces unpeeled baby beets (no larger than golfball size), scrubbed well then cut in half

1 to 2 shallots, finely chopped (may substitute 2 to 3 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped)
1 teaspoon mustard, preferably English such as Colman's
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
Pinch sugar
Handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


For the tart:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have an 8-inch tart pan or ovenproof skillet at hand.

Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Invert the tart pan or skillet on the pastry and use a knife to trace/cut around it. Wrap the pastry disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Melt the butter with the oil in the skillet or tarte tatin dish, over medium heat. Add the cider vinegar, sugar and some salt and pepper, stir well, then add the halved beets and toss to coat. You want the beets to fill the pan snugly, so add a few more as needed. Cover tightly with aluminum foil; bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beets are tender.

Uncover and rearrange the beet halves neatly, cut sides up. Lay the chilled pastry disk over the beets, patting it down and tucking in the edges down the side of the pan. Bake (at 375 degrees) for 20 minutes, until the pastry is fully puffed and golden brown.

Cool in the pan or skillet for about 15 minutes, then put a serving plate over the top and invert to turn out the tart. Pour any pan juices over the beets.

For the vinaigrette:
Combine the shallots, mustard, vinegar, oil, sugar and parsley in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Seal and shake to form an emulsified vinaigrette.

Drizzle over the tart and serve.

Pumpkin and Raisin Tea Loaf

Grated pumpkin or squash works just as well as carrot in a cake, making for a sweet, moist result. This delicious loaf is also made without any oil or butter. Makes 12 generous slices.
200g/1 cup light muscovado sugar…I used coconut palm sugar
4 large eggs, separated
200g/ 7 oz. finely grated raw squash flesh
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
100g/3½oz. raisins
100g/3½ oz. ground almonds
200g/1½ cups self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Generous grating of fresh nutmeg
Heat the oven to 170C/325°

Lightly grease and line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer beat the sugar and egg yolks for two to three minutes, until pale and creamy. Lightly stir in the pumpkin, lemon zest and juice, raisins and ground almonds. Combine the flour, salt and spices, sift these into the bowl, then fold them in. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat a heaping tablespoonful of egg white into the batter to loosen it, then fold in the rest as gently as you can.
Turn into the prepared pan and level the top. Bake for about an hour, until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, than transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

You can replace the pumpkin with carrots, zucchini or even raw grated beets.

Friday, October 24, 2014

FFWD ~ Cannelés, Chocolate Cream Puffs and a Birthday Celebration for Dorie!

Happy Birthday Dorie! Cannelés for the Celebration   

Today, French Fridays is celebrating Good Times! Birthdays, new books and anniversaries!
Happy Birthday, Dorie!!  Congratulations on your new book, “Baking Chez Moi”!  It will be released October 28th! I can’t wait to get mine, and start baking some delectable new goodies! However, just for Dorie’s Birthday, she and her publishers have let us preview four amazing recipes.  Our French Friday group is happy to share them with you today!  We had the option to choose one, or all four of the recipes for our Birthday~Book Launch Party! I choose to bake the Mini Cannelés, and the Chocolate Cream Puffs for our celebration.

Chocolate Cream Puffs! These were an amazing treat!

I’ve been baking Cannelés for years. Their name comes from the copper molds that they are traditionally baked in. They are ridged or channeled, hence the name Cannelé.  The cakes themselves are a small pastry, with a soft custardy center, and a dark thick caramelized crust. This little cake is a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France, but can be found in Patisseries all over the country. 
In case you haven’t noticed, I have a slight obsession with baking! About 10 years ago, Williams-Sonoma distributed a catalog, with a silicone Cannelé mold and recipe. I never heard of them before, but it was love at first sight. I quickly ordered the mold, and made the recipe that came with it. They became a favorite around here. I would make them for ladies luncheons, showers, and quite honestly for no reason at all. I so enjoy having a few with my cup of tea!  I’ve even invested in several of the copper molds. Beautiful, but a lot more work than the silicone. I was eager and delighted to try Dories recipe. They did not disappoint!  The thin batter for Cannelés is similar to a crepe batter. After it is made, it should rest at least 12 hours in the fridge. The next day, butter your molds and place them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Then pour in the batter and bake. These were luscious! I loved the flavor of the rum, subtle but noticeable!  I know I will be making them quite often! Thank you Dorie for sharing such a winner of a recipe!

Chocolate Cream Puffs…who knew?

My second choice was for Chocolate Cream Puffs. Dorie’s recipe calls for a Mascarpone filling. I choose to serve mine with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce…aka Profiteroles! It was my first time making a chocolate choux pastry. Who knew? A fabulous treat, whether you serve them with ice cream or Dories Mascarpone filling.  My hubby loved these! They can be made in advance, and placed in the freezer to bake later. Great for a party!  I can’t wait to try them with the mascarpone filling, which Dorie flavors with a touch of rose water. They sound amazing, don’t you think?

Lastly I would love to wish all my fellow Dorista’s a happy anniversary! Four years and counting!! Here’s to more fun, friendships and cooking adventures in the next year!  Happy Friday everyone!

I love my copper molds…but I’m not fond of brushing them with beeswax.
The silicone molds are easier to prepare and I use a baster to fill them…makes it pretty easy
So join us in celebrating Dories Birthday and new book
Bake yourself a batch of Chocolate Cream Puffs
Or try your hand at Cannelés

If you’d like to get a copy of Dorie’s new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi, you can order it now on Amazon. Click the icon. I’ll be baking from Baking Chez Moi, twice a month with the Tuesdays with Dorie group, maybe you’d like to join us!

Check out what my fellow Doristas chose to bake for Dorie’s Birthday! Then bake something for yourself!

  • Mini Cannelés——recipe
  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Apple Pie in an Apple…a Fun Recipe

    Delectable Apple Pie in an Apple

    In case you haven’t noticed, fall is here!  Where I live, that means apples, lots of apples! There is nothing quite as tasty as biting into a freshly picked apple.  The crispy crunch, and sweet taste of juice as it sprays into your mouth, heavenly! 

    In my house, the next best thing to a fresh apple is apple pie!  When apples are in season, I immediately start to crave apple pie!  A whole pie would be considerably more than we can eat. I thought small cobbler, or baked apples, and then I found this Apple Pie Baked in an Apple…with a crust!  How cool is that! I don’t know the origins of this idea but these baked apples are all over Pinterest.  The recipe is pretty straightforward. To whoever came up with this fun idea…thank you!  

    Mouthwatering baked apples with a crust

Apples conjure up memories of my mother. She was the pie baker in our family. I don’t remember a holiday or celebration where she didn’t bake a pie.  In the summer, black raspberries, blueberries and peaches were just some of the fruits that filled her wonderful pies. When my kids were younger, we would visit her in the summers, and pick colanders full of black raspberries. She would then perform her magic, using those gorgeous berries, to make the best pies ever! Her pies were always mouthwatering, but her specialty was apple pie!

    That first Thanksgiving, when we realized she was no longer able to bake her apple pie, was a difficult time for the family. Who would bake mom’s apple pie? A task no one wanted to take on! Finally my daughter stepped up, and volunteered to bake the apple pie with one caveat  "no one better compare it to grandma’s”.  She did a wonderful job, and her pie would have made her grandmother proud! Since then, I have even learned how to bake a pretty good apple pie! I don’t think mine will ever be as special as my mom’s, hers were filled with all the love she had for her family!  As I baked my little Apple Pies in an Apple, I thought of how my mom would love this idea!  Enjoy!!

    Cut the tops off the apples, remove the core without going through the apple, and scoop out the pulp 
    Mix the scooped apple pulp with the cinnamon, sugar, flour
    Fill the apple, dot with a bit of butter, and add the lattice crust
    Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon (if desired)
    A wonderful way to conquer your apple pie cravings 

    Apple Pie in an Apple                                                      
    Serves 4


4 medium apples
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Lemon juice
    • about a tablespoon of butter, cut into chunks (to place on top of the apples before baking)
    • Milk for brushing the dough
    • sugar for sprinkling
    Chilled pie dough, rolled out about 1/8 inch thick

    Preheat the oven to 350°

    1. Wash the apples and pat dry.  Set on cutting board.
    2. Cut and remove the tops off each apple. With a small sharp knife, carve out the core and seeds (without piercing the bottoms of the apples). I used an apple corer to remove the center, without going all the way down.
    3. Using a small spoon or melon baller, carefully scoop out the insides of the apple until an apple cup is formed. Save the pulp in a small bowl for the filling. Spritz or rub a small amount of lemon juice on the insides of each apple to prevent them from browning.                                                                        
    4. Peel and dice the lids and mix the peeled and diced lid bits into the pulp bowl.                              
    5. Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon into the apple pulp until well blended.                                      
    6. Spoon the filling back into each apple. Fill the hollowed out apple, and then top with 1 or 2 butter chunks.                                                                                                                                                  
    7. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut strips of pie dough, and lay them onto each apple, lattice style. Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.                                                    
    8. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until slightly tender and crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm! Enjoy! I like mine with a scoop of ice cream!

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    FFWD ~ Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic

    FFWD ~ Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic
    One thing I’ve learned, from our recent repertoire of recipes for French Fridays, is “don’t judge a book by its cover”!  This week we are seeing yet one more ugly star of a dish! Jerusalem Artichokes, sometimes called Sunchokes, are in no way attractive! They rival the Celery Root for ugliest veggie!

    If you have never heard of the Jerusalem artichoke, you are not alone. When I asked my produce man if he had any, or if he could get some for me, he looked puzzled. Then he told me, he had never heard of such a veggie, and had never seen them offered by their suppliers! OK then!! I decided to get a bit creative, and search the Internet. To my surprise they were selling them on E-Bay! Really?? I truly believe that you can find just about anything on E-bay!

    They really were quite good
    According to Wikipedia, the Jerusalem Artichoke was first cultivated by Native Americans, long before the arrival of the Europeans. The French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, found domestically grown plants at Cape Cod in 1605.  He then brought the plant back with him to France. The Jerusalem artichoke had become a very common vegetable, for human consumption in Europe and the Americas, by the mid 1600s. The French, in particular, were especially taken with this ugly root vegetable. It reached its peak in popularity by the turn of the 19th century.  The 2002 Nice Festival, for the Heritage of the French Cuisine, chose the Jerusalem artichoke as the “Best Soup Vegetable”.  Who knew?

    The recipe that Dorie shares is quite simple.  The worst part of the preparation, was the peeling of these very knobby roots.  Honestly, this is pretty much a non-recipe.  Place chunks of peeled sunchokes into a pie plate with a few tablespoons of olive oil, a few sprigs of rosemary, a few sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper. Then slice several cloves of garlic very thin, and add them to the pan. Roast twenty minutes at 400°, turn and roast another twenty minutes. That’s it! I really enjoyed these! They were different, sweeter and softer than a potato, but quite good. The best part was the roasted sliced garlic. Yum! And did Bill like them?  He didn’t appreciate the sweet taste and texture. I'd like to try them in soup some time, and see why the French chose them as “Best Soup Vegetable”.

    Although this has been a month of ugly, for French Fridays, I have enjoyed our adventures in trying new things! Things I would have never tried without Dorie! Happy Friday everyone!

                                                                  The ugly sunchoke root looks a bit like ginger root                              file photo
    Peeled and ready for the oven
    Roasted and ready to eat
    I actually enjoyed this new adventure in eating
     My morning visitor